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Bronchodilators use in patients with COPD

Authors Dong Y, Hsu C, Li Y, Chang C, Lai M

Received 7 April 2015

Accepted for publication 17 July 2015

Published 1 September 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 1769—1779


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 8

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Yaa-Hui Dong,1,2,* Chia-Lin Hsu,3,4,* Ying-Ying Li,5 Chia-Hsuin Chang,6,7 Mei-Shu Lai2,7

1Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA; 2Center of Comparative Effectiveness Research, National Center of Excellence for Clinical Trial and Research, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; 3Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan; 4Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan; 5Department of Pharmacy, Sijhih Cathay General Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan; 6Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan; 7Graduate Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Background: Bronchodilators are commonly used as maintenance and rescue therapy in patients with COPD. We aimed to examine the prescribing patterns of bronchodilators in clinical practice.
Methods: We identified patients with COPD who initiated oral or inhaled bronchodilators between 2001 and 2010 from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. We followed the patients for 1 year. For bronchodilator prescriptions, we classified the treatments based on medication classes and regimens (oral bronchodilators alone, oral and inhaled bronchodilators in combination, or inhaled bronchodilators alone). For inhaled bronchodilator prescriptions, we further classified the treatments as short-acting bronchodilators alone, short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators in combination, and long-acting bronchodilators alone. We evaluated the prescribing patterns and the change with time, in different physician specialists, and in different hospital accreditation levels.
Results: Among a cohort of 4,387 study-eligible patients, we identified 21,235 bronchodilator prescriptions for the analysis. The majority of prescriptions were oral xanthines or beta-2 agonists (62.63% and 47.54%, respectively) rather than prescriptions for inhaled bronchodilators (less than 10%). Nearly 80% of prescriptions were oral bronchodilator alone regimens. Use of oral bronchodilators declined with time and varied with health care providers, which were most commonly prescribed by non-chest specialists and in primary care clinics. Despite limited use of inhaled bronchodilators, it was noted that short-acting bronchodilators alone regimens accounted for 60% of the inhaled bronchodilator prescriptions.
Conclusion: Excessive use of oral and short-acting bronchodilators is noted in general practice. Further research and education programs are warranted to decrease inadequate oral bronchodilators and optimize inhaled treatments in the management of patients with COPD.

Keywords: bronchodilators, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, prescribing patterns Taiwan

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